Neuro-Vascular Coupling

Neurovascular coupling is one of the key concepts for the investigation of brain functions. The higher rate of oxygen metabolism of cortical tissue following the onset of a stimulus is commonly correlated with an increase in blood flow. This increase is linked to a higher oxygen supply by the blood to the tissue and compensates the higher oxygen extraction.

Consequently, there is an increase in oxygenation, i.e. an increase in the concentration of oxygenated haemoglobin and a decrease in the deoxygenated haemoglobin. The BOLD (Blood Oxygen Level Dependent) contrast in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) exploits this for an imaging of cortical function. Tissue oxygen monitoring using white-light reflective spectroscopy is well suited to record local changes in oxygenation, and functional related changes in haemoglobin from the opened cortex. Contrary to BOLD which is sensitive to changes in deoxygenated haemoglobin concentrations, the optical tissue oxygen monitoring is able to retrieve both the oxygenated and deoxygenated haemoglobin concentrations. Additionally, the oxygen saturation of the haemoglobin in the microcirculation can be obtained.

Equipment Recommendations

We recommend the moorVMS-OXY monitor, moorVMS-PC software and OP3 blunt needle probe. For simultaneous blood flow measurements, add the VMS-LDF1 or 2 and add a CP3 combined needle in place of the OP3.

Superficial Tissue Oxygenation Monitor

Non invasive, real time superficial tissue oxygenation monitor


moorVMS-OXY - Non invasive, real time superficial tissue oxygenation monitor
SOFTWARE-VMS-RESEARCH-4VX - Advanced aquisition and analyses functions to collect signals and automate control protocol modules
OP3-500 - Blunt needle end delivery probe

What Next?

Contact us to discuss your specific needs and to request your copy of our free Application Note which includes a detailed experimental method and practical suggestions. We also offer no obligation on-site visits so you can test the equipment in your facility.


Füchtemeier M., Leithner Ch., Offenhauser N., Foddis M., Kohl-Bareis M., Dirnagl U., Lindauer U., Royl G. (2010)
Elevating intracranial pressure reverses the decrease in deoxygenated hemoglobin and abolishes the post-stimulus overshoot upon somatosensory activation in rats.
Neuroimage 52, 445 - 454.

Hashimoto T., Shibata K., Nobe K., Hasumi K., Honda K. (2010)
A Novel Embolic Model of Cerebral Infarction and Evaluation of Stachybotrys microspora Triprenyl Phenol-7 (SMTP-7), a Novel Fungal Triprenyl Phenol Metabolite.
Journal of Pharmacological Sciences, 114 (1), pp 41-49

Lindauer U., Megow D., Matsuda H., Dirnagl U. (1999)
Nitric oxide: a modulator, but not a mediator, of neurovascular coupling in rat somatosensory cortex.
Am J Physiol 277(2 Pt 2):H799–811

Lindauer U., Gethmann J., Kühl M., Kohl-Bareis M., Dirnagl U. (2003)
Neuronal activity induced changes of local cerebral microvascular blood oxygenation in the rat: Effect of systemic hyperoxia or hypoxia.
Brain Research 975, 135-40